Patrick Johnston

This week, the Opelika-Auburn News welcomed Patrick Johnston as its new managing editor.

Johnston was previously the managing editor of the Eufaula Tribune before beginning his new job this week in Opelika.

Opelika-Auburn News Publisher Rex Maynor said he was excited when Johnston accepted the role of managing editor.

“Patrick is a solid community newspaper executive, and I feel assured that his 15 years of local community newspaper experience will prove to be an asset for the O-A News and our affiliated digital offerings,” Maynor said. “Patrick fully understands and embraces the importance of the local newspaper in our community, and understands the importance of local news and information that is relevant to our community.”

Upon graduating from the University of Alabama in 1999, Johnston began work as a reporter for the Eufaula Tribune, quickly rising to the positions of sports editor, news editor and then managing editor in 2005.

Looking back on his time in Eufaula, Johnston said he is proud of how the paper became more involved with the community, as well as the journalists he worked with there.

“I really tried to make it more inclusive of our community and I feel like we took some significant steps to do that,” Johnston said.

Johnston said the opportunity to come to the Opelika-Auburn News is a “dream come true” because of what he believes as the newspaper’s tradition of excellence as a community paper.

“I’m excited to be a part of that,” Johnston said. “It’s certainly a great news town.”

Johnston said his philosophy of community news is deeply rooted in the importance of covering the community, from council meetings, games and “refrigerator journalism,” or stories that people want to cut out and hang on their refrigerators at home.

“That’s something I’m going to emphasize here: We want this to be a true community paper,” Johnston said. “I believe there’s importance in that in a community like ours.”

Commenting on the changing climate of journalism and the role that the Internet and social media plays in it, Johnston said that as opposed to just print, there are many different forums to tell a story through and that the Opelika-Auburn News has done a good job of utilizing video, social media, photo galleries and its website to grow its online presence.

“We do a tremendous job of that here and I certainly want to see us build and grow on those efforts,” Johnston said.

Johnston said he is proud to join the O-A News because of the newspaper's tradition of excellence.

“There’s a true commitment to covering Opelika, Auburn and the surrounding areas as well and I look forward to working with the staff here so that we can continue to build on our previous efforts,” Johnston said.

A McCalla native, Johnston has a wife, Stephanie, and stepson, Jonathon, who will be stationed at Wichita Falls, Texas, in the Air Force.

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